A jury's acquittal of George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin sparked waves of disappointment, from some of the nation's best-known civil rights leaders to the streets outside a Sanford, Fla., courthouse.
A clearly shaken NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous said, "This is a heartbreaking moment. This will confirm for many that the only problem with the New South is it occupies the same time and space as the old South."
He referenced another killing of a black youth that many have compared to the Trayvon Martin slaying, the 1955 killing of 14-year-old Emmett Till, who was killed in Mississippi for allegedly flirting with a white woman. "Trayvon Martin's case has focused a generation the same way that the Emmett Till case focused a generation 60 years ago. I had hoped that this time we would get a verdict that fit the gravity of the case."
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who led thousands of protesters in Sanford seeking a prosecution of Trayvon's killer, called the verdict "a sad day in the country" and "a slap in the face to those that believe in justice in this country."
"I think this is an atrocity," Sharpton said. "It is probably one of the worst situations that I have seen."
Jesse Jackson called the verdict "Old South justice."